Deportations of Armenians 1934

U.S. Embassy Report by Robert P. Skinner on Deportations of Armenians in Turkey, 1934




Ankara, March 2, 1934.


No. 151

SUBJECT: Deportations of Armenians.



The Honorable

      The Secretary of State,



            I have the honor to bring to the Department's attention such details as have reached the Embassy from several sources concerning the recent deportations of Armenians from the interior of Anatolia to Istanbul.          

            The deportees began to arrive at Istanbul some six weeks ago and they are quartered by the Armenian Church and its auxiliary relief organizations in churches, school houses and abandoned buildings in the village of Ortakõy and Yenikõy. About 600 Armenians are now being taken care of.  They are from various towns and villages of Anatolia. 

            It is assumed by most of the deportees that their expulsion from their homes in Anatolia is part of the Government's program of making Anatolia a pure Turkish district.  They relate that the Turkish police, in towns and villages where Armenians lived, attempted to instigate local Moslem people to drive the Armenians away.  These efforts failed completely.   The authorities then brought in Turks from Rumeli and intimated to them that they could take over the Armenian possessions.  This new element, however, instead of taking a hostile attitude towards the Armenians became most congenial with them.  These two means failing, the Armenians were told that they had to leave at once for Istanbul.  They sold their possessions receiving for them ruinous prices.  I have been told that cattle worth several hundred liras a head had been sold for as little as five liras a head. My informant stated that the Armenians were permitted to sell their property in order that no one os them could say that they were forced to abandon it.  However, the sale under these conditions amounted to a practical abandonment. 

            The Armenians were obliged to walk from their villages to the railways and then they were shopped by train to Istanbul.  Local relief organizations are doing their best to attempt to find employment for these people and to care for them until employment is found.  However, the size of the task is staggering.  Local sympathetic people have been canvassed to contribute money for their relief.

             The real reasons for the deportations is unknown. A few Armenians believe that it is due to their superior business methods which arouses jealousy among certain Turkish elements.  The Armenians are known for their energy and thoroughness in business and many of them believe that they are suffering now for these qualities.  It is likely, though, that their removal is simply one step in the government's avowed policy of making Anatolia purely Turkish.

                                      Respectfully yours,


                                        Robert P. Skinner.






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